Local Government Sector Support

Funding for Local Government Legislative Reform
WALGA welcomes funding in the 2022-23 Budget to support implementation of Local Government legislative reform. The State Government has allocated $1.3 million for the Department of Local Government, Sport & Cultural Industries regulatory reform program, which WALGA anticipates will include funding for other legislative reform priorities in addition to the local government reform program.
The Minister for Local Government, Hon. John Carey MLA commenced the consultation period for the Local Government reform proposals in November 2021. 

The proposed Local Government reforms are based on six themes:
  1. Earlier intervention, effective regulation and stronger penalties
  2. Reducing red tape, increasing consistency and simplicity
  3. Greater transparency and accountability
  4. Stronger local democracy and community engagement
  5. Clear roles and responsibilities
  6. Improved financial management and reporting.
The Local Government sector has provided support for the majority of the proposed reforms. WALGA, as the peak body representing the Local Government sector, has been invited to participate in a working group to progress the legislative proposals.

Industrial Relations Transition
WALGA notes its disappointment that there is no funding in the 2022-23 Budget to assist Local Governments with the cost of transitioning to the State Industrial Relations System.

The State Government is seeking to have all Local Governments operate in the State Industrial Relations System based on recommendations made in the 2019 Ministerial Review of the State Industrial Relations System. The legislation to mandate the transition was passed by the State Parliament in December 2021 and is now awaiting Federal Government consideration.  If the Federal Government endorse the declaration for Local Governments to not be national system employers under the Fair Work Act, then it will be critical for Local Governments to secure State Government funding, resourcing and assistance to ensure the transition is smooth and positive for Local Government employees, and to minimise the financial impact on ratepayers. A WALGA survey of Local Governments showed the estimated cost impost on Local Governments would be $15 million over a two year period.

The transition of Local Government employees from the Federal to State Industrial Relations system will affect approximately 22,600 employees across 79% of WA’s Local Governments and Regional Councils.  It will require Local Government employers and employees to navigate complex transitional legislation and arrangements.